Continuing our crusade through Jesyem Krzywym Lasem from the previous overview post, here’s our track by track breakdown of the first song on the record, “Quiksand”.
Quiksand was the first song I wrote that I realized pretty quickly it didn’t quite fit in with all the other songs I was working on at the time. It was somehow musically even more toned down than any of my other acoustic based tracks but it also built up gradually over it’s roughly 2 and a half minute timeline in a way that I hadn’t tried before.
It relies heavily on the gradual dynamics to set the scene given its otherwise bare rhythmic 4-chord base and without them, it’s almost not even the same story.
About the Track
Quiksand is about a couple different things but at its core it’s not about life so much as it’s about the pursuit of meaning in life. It was in part inspired by traumatic events I went through while at the peak of my alcohol addiction, in which the one event that’s been arguably the most difficult for me to wrap my head around was my sexual assault at 23 years old at the hands of someone I had known and seen around frequently but would’ve never imagined would’ve changed my life in the way that they did.
It follows the event from its inception, dealing with the aftermath and realization of what happened, how I felt about it, and the self-deprecation and depression that it led to. It circles around the thoughts and questions that I had for myself then and often still find myself struggling with, like, “how could I have let myself get into such an altered state that this was even able to occur” and “where was everybody else when this happened?”.
And of course those questions lead to more exhausting contemplation, with taking on the personal responsibility and accountability for my own part in it, but in a way that serves to protect and care for myself, too, “it’s not your fault, but you can’t let this happen again, to yourself or anyone else, if you can help it”.
I’ve always been someone very protective of my friends and their own well-being, often being the one to drive people home after long nights to make sure they got their safely or, offering for them to stay over if they needed a place to crash, but through most of my life I was also often the person who couldn’t always tell when they were overdoing it themselves, not affording myself that same kindness, because I wasn’t always sure I deserved it.
On a certain level this event made me look at myself in a completely different way, literally like a stranger staring through myself, because despite so many other things I had experienced that also sort of made me take a step back and say, “okay, what are we really doing here? There’s gotta be a better way to go about what we’re looking for,” this was the one that made me really stop and lay everything out on the table, recognize the patterns that led up to it, and finally come up with some sort of goal and small steps to get back on track, towards a life I could be proud of.
Ultimately, Quiksand is about coming to terms with traumatic experiences; it happened and you can’t change that, you have to live with it now, and the way you choose to reflect on it and move forward will be the basis for a lot of your life decisions to follow.
It touches a little on the viewpoint from friends and family, too, who sometimes have a way of downplaying, belittling, or even completely gaslighting the experience, which I’m sure is to in some way their own defence mechanism or projection, but it doesn’t serve you as the victim of the event in any way, so it’s important to recognize when its happening, or else you might fall right back through the sand again.
Laying adrift a bed made of quicksand
Each grain slips through the lines in our hands
Each one a promise and dream unfulfilled
A hole at the bottom keeps out the shells
I fall away from the heat and now I’m lost at sea
A tide rolls passed with you on top of me
I falter and flail but the lighthouse looks bleak
An early night for the watcher whose eyes couldn’t keep
By dawn the shore is littered with trash
Lifeless bodies sit like craters who crashed
Letters haphazardly written by moonlight
Rest in bottles without corks, an address or postage
A lifeguard steps up to his post for the day
The flags wave wildly keeping tourists away
I climb ashore, grabbing a bucket and pail
She’s carving moats and reinventing the wheel
By dusk the castle is fit for a king
Decorated with plastic and recycled mail
The wind picks up and the guard steps down
He turns to leave and the sirens sound
Scouring the beach for any indication
That little girl and her mother, where were they playing?
A mistake or malfunction, the silence looms overhead
An empty beach lies before him without so much as a footprint
The Original Demo
The original demo was tracked in Barrie, Ontario, with my SM57 on the guitar and AT2020 for my vocal. Not much of this song has changed from the initial demo on the official release, just some extra mixing and I added a second guitar which enters the song just ahead of the midway point which, when listened ton on headphones, is intended to “crash” into the other like competing waves in a busy sea before they ultimately split and pan into the far left and right sides after engulfing the swimmer whole.
A Little More
Quiksand was the first song I performed as part of an official concert livestream. I tracked the “live” version of it in my Barrie basement suite and it was included in a Barrie cultural day event with other local artists. That was also right around the time I decided that Quiksand should find its own home, and I think its found the right one now in “Jestem Krzywym Lasem”.